Developer asks to amend Hudson’s retirement zoning district


Developer asks to amend Hudson’s retirement zoning district
The Enclave at Hudson is located on Barnes Boulevard. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

HUDSON – Toll Brothers, the luxury home company that built the Enclave at Hudson, is seeking an amendment to the town’s Retirement Community Overlay Zoning District.

The proposed amendment, which Toll Brothers presented at a Planning Board meeting on July 19, would exclude the floor areas of finished basements from the living space restrictions of retirement communities.

“We’re asking for this language change because we think it makes a lot of sense. It’s a clarification,” said Toll Brothers Senior Vice President Shawn Nuckolls. “We don’t think the Planning Board or the town should be restricting finished basements, and additionally it wasn’t a restriction on previous active adult communities.”

Currently dwellings in retirement communities must contain more than 1,000 square feet and less than 2,400 square feet of living area, and at least 66 percent of the living area in a unit must be on the first floor.

Nuckolls said the company is competing against resales in other Hudson communities —such as WestRidge and Sauta Farm — which provide more living area and have finished basements.

Nuckolls said that at the Enclave, an active adult community for people 55 and older, they offer six house plans for sale. Three of the plans are single-floor homes and have more than 1,700 square feet. In those, Toll Brothers can only partially finish the basements.

“We have this goofy layout because it’s an 1,800-square-foot unit so we can finish approximately 600 square feet, and that’s it,” Nuckolls said.

The other three plans they offer are two-floor homes, which range from 2,150 to 2,389 square feet. For these houses, they cannot finish the basements at all.

Hudson Director of Planning and Community Development Kristina Johnson said that the town’s Building Commissioner, Jeffrey Wood, was now enforcing the provision after a long period where it had not been imposed.

This restriction is limited to this retirement overlay district.

Planning Board member Darryl Filippi said that he thinks the purpose of the bylaw is to prevent the dwellings from having a third bedroom, which the district’s septic system is not designed to handle.

“Even if you restrict the language that says you can finish the basement, but you can’t put a bedroom in there, somebody’s going to throw a pull-out couch and say it’s a bedroom at some point,” Filippi said.

Filippi said that even if the bylaw was changed to further clarify the restriction on bedrooms, it would be too difficult for the building inspector to enforce.

“If somebody finishes out and says it’s a study, that’s what the building inspector sees,” Filippi said. “The day after the building inspector walks through, it’s a bedroom.”

Ultimately, Planning Board Chair Robert D’Amelio said the Planning Board would refer the matter to town counsel, the building commissioner and the Board of Health for their feedback.


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